August 09, 2019
What the FBI Knew about Spygate Conspirator Bruce Ohr
FBI Leakers Exposed by Judicial Watch
Judicial Watch Challenges Mayor Buttigieg’s Cover-Up on Illegal Alien ID Cards
Anti-Trump California Tries to Unconstitutionally Mess With Presidential Election – Judicial Watch Sues
Bruce Ohr was removed from his post of associate deputy attorney general on December 6, 2017, when it was discovered that he was actively conspiring against President Trump with others (including his wife Nellie Ohr) in and out of the Justice Department.
Ohr was corruptly used by the FBI as a conduit to Clinton spy Christopher Steele and the Clinton-DNC spy ring at Fusion, and we now have received 34 pages of “302” report material from the FBI interviews of Ohr – documents that Congress has been seeking but have been unable to get for over a year. (FBI agents use a Form 302 to summarize interviews and record notes taken during an interview.)
We obtained these documents in response to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit we filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to an August 6, 2018, FOIA request seeking Form 302s for a number of interviews with Ohr concerning his interactions with former British spy Christopher Steele (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02107)).
- On November 22, 2016, Bruce Ohr said that “reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign, Jon Winer at the U.S. State Department and the FBI.”
In late September 2016, Ohr describes a person (likely Christopher Steele) as “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President.”
“Ohr knew that [Fusion GPS’s] Glen Simpson and others were talking to Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department.”
- Glenn Simpson directed a person whose is redacted to speak to the press. It appears as if the press that person went to was the far left leaning Mother Jones.
On December 5, 2016, Ohr promised to “voluntarily” give his wife Nellie Ohr’s Fusion GPS research to the FBI. He also provided the FBI with a report on Paul Manafort titled, “Manafort Chronology.”
- On December 12, 2016 Simpson gave Ohr a thumb drive with Fusion GPS research on it. Ohr claims to not know what is on that drive. During the meeting Simpson, based evidently on a meeting with Glenn Simpson, identified Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer as having “many Russian clients.” Simpson also told Ohr that Cohen, “may have” attended a meeting in Prague.
Ohr describes Simpson directing someone to talk to the Mother Jones reporter “as it was Simpson’s Hail Mary attempt.”
- On December 20, 2016, Ohr provided the FBI with his wife’s Nellie Ohr’s Fusion GPS research, “which contained the totality” of her work “but the Fusion GPS header was stripped.”
- On January 23, 2017, Ohr tells the FBI that Steele told him that Steele “spoke with a staff member of Senator John McCain’s office sometime prior to October 2016.”
- The FBI interviews show that Ohr texted and talked to Christopher Steele using the WhatsApp application.
- On February 2, 2017, the FBI tells Ohr to see if Steele would be “comfortable getting the name of an FBI agent” as a contact. Ohr tells the agents that State Department official Kathleen Kavalec spoke with “Steele several times prior to the U.S. Presidential election and believed Steele’s reporting to have [been] generated mainly from [REDACTED].
- On February 14, 2017, Ohr tells the FBI that Steele communicated with him via Facetime that Steele was “beginning to worry about his business.” Steele discussed brokering new business with the FBI and told Ohr, “You may see me re-emerge in a couple of weeks.”
- On May 3, 2017, Steele called Ohr to tell him that he “had been worried about Director Comey’s upcoming testimony to Congress, especially his response to questions that would be raised by (Senator) Grassley.” Although what he was specifically worried about is redacted, Steele was “happy with Director Comey’s response.”
Steele also stated that he was limited in “his ability to testify before Congress” because of disclosure laws in the UK being more narrow than the United States.
- On May 12, 2017, Steele called Ohr to discuss a letter the Senate Intelligence Committee sent him. According to Ohr, “The letter requested answers to the following questions:
Had Steele provided information to the US Government?
What was the scope of Steele’s investigation?
Did Steele have any additional information to provide? In May, 2017, Ohr was asked by the FBI to ask “Steele if he would be willing to have a conversation with FBI agents in the UK.” Steele responded that he would, but he would need to check with a redacted name.
These new Bruce Ohr FBI 302s show an unprecedented and irregular effort by the FBI, DOJ, and State Department to dig up dirt on President Trump using the conflicted Bruce Ohr, his wife, and the Clinton/DNC spies at Fusion GPS. The FISA courts weren’t informed of this corrupted process when they were asked to approve and reapprove extraordinary spy warrants targeting President Trump.
Here is some more important background on Ohr, Steele and the Spygate affair.
In June, we uncovered documents showing in the removal of Bruce Ohr November 13, 2016, Ohr was given a performance award of $28,000. This was during the time of his deep involvement in the highly controversial Justice Department surveillance of the Trump presidential campaign. The bonus was nearly double the $14,250 performance award he was given on November 29, 2015.
One of our FOIA lawsuits recently produced information from the DOJ showing a conversation between former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Kathleen Kavalec and Bruce Ohr, discussing the targeting of Donald Trump with Steele dossier material. In discussing a meeting with the potential source for a Mother Jones article accusing the Trump campaign of taking money from a Russian-American oil magnate, as well as Christopher Steele’s connection to that source, Kavalec emails Ohr citing the accusatory Mother Jones article. Ohr says, “I really hope we can get something going here.”
We also obtained an email revealing that Nellie Ohr, wife of Bruce Ohr, informed him that she was deleting emails sent from his DOJ email account. The full email exchange is between Bruce Ohr, Lisa Holtyn, Nellie Ohr, and Stefan Bress, a first secretary at the German Embassy, and is part of 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice.
We also uncovered emails from Ohr showing that he remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant. The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities.
Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.
We are suing the DOJ for communications between two of the pivotal players in the Deep State, anti-Trump collusion – former FBI official Peter Strzok and Ohr (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-01082)). We are challenging the Justice Department’s extraordinary claim that there are no records of communications between Strzok and Ohr in light of the preeminent role both individuals played in the Deep State effort to undermine the Trump campaign and administration. In addition, Ohr himself testified before Congress that he did, in fact, meet and communicate with Strzok.
We also seek records about the agency’s involvement in persuading President Trump to defer his September 2018 decision to declassify DOJ documents related to the Russia investigation (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00507)). Our lawsuit is also seeking Ohr’s records of communications around the time of Trump’s declassification announcement.
And I can tell you that more is coming as a result of our investigations of the biggest corruption scandal in American history….
Fourteen FBI employees were referred to the organization’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or classified information, and we now have the records of those referrals.
This comes on the heels of our uncovering an FBI report revealing that fired FBI Director James Comey kept FBI documents on President Trump at his house. Comey also admitted to leaking those documents.
Although the FBI’s OPR does not have its own website, according to the DOJ’s OPR, leak allegations may come, “from a variety of sources, including U.S. Attorney’s offices and other Department components, courts, Congress, media reports, other federal agencies, state and local government agencies, private citizens, private attorneys, criminal defendants, civil litigants, and self-referrals. OPR also regularly conducts its own searches to identify judicial findings of misconduct against Department attorneys.”
According to the DOJ’s OPR, it “investigates certain misconduct allegations involving federal law enforcement agents when they relate to a Department attorney’s alleged professional misconduct, as well as claims of reprisal against FBI whistleblowers.” “If OPR finds professional misconduct in a particular case, a different office—the Professional Misconduct Review Unit—reviews OPR’s findings and determines the appropriate discipline.” Final recommendations are given to “the appropriate office.”
We obtained the records through a January 2019 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:
- All complaints, referrals, or other reports received by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility related to the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and/or classified information by any employee of the FBI.
- Any records documenting the closure or other final disposition of any complaint, referral, or other report described in part one of this request.
One referral we obtained appears to refer to former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe was closed on March 20, 2018 and states as a mitigating factor that the “Employee was facing unprecedented challengers and pressures.”
(Name redacted) (DOJ/O&R) Closed: 3/20/2018 References: 2.5, 2.6, 4.10
SES [Senior Executive Service] employee released the FBI Sensitive information to a reporter and lacked candor not under oath and under oath when questioned about it, in violation of Offense Codes 4.10 (Unauthorized Disclosure – Sensitive Information); 2.5 (Lack of Candor- No Oath); and 2.6 (Lack of Candor – Under Oath).
The proposed decision in this matter was made by the AD, OPR. The final decision was made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. DOK retains final decision-making authority for certain high-ranking FBI officials.
MITIGATION: Employee as (redacted) years of FBI service and a remarkable performance record. Employee was facing unprecedented challengers and pressures.
AGGRAVATION: Employee held an extremely high position and was expected to comport himself with the utmost integrity. Lack of candor is incompatible with the FBI’s Core Values.
FINAL ACTION(S): OPR PROPOSED DECISION Proposed DISMISSAL
OPR FINAL DECISION: DISMISSAL
After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.
Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”
The records show that penalties for unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and/or classified information ranged from no action (due to administrative closure) to, as in the case of McCabe, dismissal. Other FBI employees’ offenses reported in the documents list several cases in which the final action was less severe than OPR’s proposal:
- An unidentified employee was fired. The case was closed in July 2016.
- An unidentified employee was given a one-day suspension without pay. The case was closed in April 2016.
- The following year an unidentified employee received a five-day suspension without pay, and the case was closed administratively in April 2017.
- An SES agent who “misused an FBI database, and provided sensitive information to a former FBI employee” was reported to have had as mitigation that he felt he “had the support of his Division to use his discretion.” OPR proposed a 15-day suspension, but the final decision was to give a letter of censure. This case was closed in June 2017.
- An unidentified employee was fired. The case was closed in May 2018.
- An unidentified employee was recommended for dismissal but received a 45-day suspension. The case was closed in October 2017.
- An unidentified employee was given a 14-day suspension. The case was closed in March 2016.
- An unidentified employee, who was cited for misuse of an FBI database and unauthorized disclosure of classified/law-enforcement sensitive/grand jury information, was given a 12-day suspension. The case was closed in January 2016.
- An unidentified employee received a letter of censure. The case was closed in August 2016.
- An unidentified employee was given a letter of censure. The case was closed in October 2016.
- An unidentified employee was accused of “Investigative deficiency – improper handling of documents or property in the care, custody or control of the government; unauthorized disclosure – classified/law enforcement sensitive/grand jury information” and “failure to report – administrative.” It was proposed that they be given a 30-calendar day suspension without pay; the final decision from OPR was that they were given a 10-calendar day suspension without pay. This case was closed in February 2018.
- An unidentified employee was fired. This case was closed in October 2017.
- An unidentified employee was given a letter of censure. It was proposed that they be fired, but the final decision was a 60-day suspension without pay. The case was closed in January 2019.
This is just a mess. No wonder the FBI was leaking so profusely. These documents show lenient treatment for evident criminal activity. Only four of the 14 employees found to have made an unauthorized disclosure were fired. And even though Andrew McCabe was fired and referred for a criminal investigation for his leak, he hasn’t been prosecuted.
Sanctuary policies that protect illegal aliens undermine the rule of law – and they are not just in cities such as San Francisco and New York.
We just filed an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) open records lawsuit against the City of South Bend, Indiana, for records of communications of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s office related to the creation of a municipal ID card for illegal aliens. The card was created by La Casa de Amistad, a local nonprofit corporation (Judicial Watch v. City of South Bend (No. 71C01-1908-Ml-000389)).
On December 16, 2016, the South Bend Tribune reported that, “A nonprofit Latino advocacy group … unveiled a new identification card it hopes will make life easier for undocumented immigrants who live in [South Bend].” La Casa de Amistad Inc. are the creators of this “SB ID.” Mayor Pete Buttigieg reportedly worked “closely with La Casa de Amistad, South Bend’s main Latino outreach center … and the nonprofit’s executive director, Sam Centellas,” to create a “Community Resident Card … created and distributed by the group — a private organization — not the city.” “Buttigieg’s part to make it all work was to sign an executive order requiring local services and institutions — like law enforcement, schools, the water utility and libraries — to accept the card as a valid form of identification.”
We sued after the City of South Bend failed to respond as required by law to open records requests on June 22, 2019, seeking emails between Buttigieg, members of his staff and officials of La Casa de Amistad regarding the Community Resident Card program.
Mayor Buttigieg’s city administration in South Bend is in cover-up mode on his work for special ID cards to make it easier for illegal aliens to stay in the United States contrary to law. We made simple open records requests and have faced nothing but games from the Buttigieg administration – which is why we had to sue.
Across the country local politicians, prosecutors and judges are abusing their powers to target President Trump. The latest – no surprise – is the State of California, which unconstitutionally demands to see his tax returns before allowing him to appear on the presidential primary ballot.
We just filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of four California voters to prevent the California secretary of state from implementing a new state law requiring all presidential candidates who wish to appear on California’s primary ballot to publicly disclose their personal tax returns from the past five years (Jerry Griffin et al. v. Alex Padilla (No. 2:19-cv-01477).
The suit argues that the law unconstitutionally adds a new qualification for candidates for president. Our clients include a registered Independent, Republican, and Democrat California voter.
Under the law, known as the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, candidates who do not publicly disclose their tax returns are barred from having their names printed on California’s primary ballots. We argue that SB 27 imposes candidate qualifications beyond those allowed by the U.S. Constitution and impermissibly burdens a voters’ expressive constitutional and statutory rights. The lawsuit claims violations of the U.S. Constitution’s Qualifications Clause, the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1988.
During the 2017-2018 legislative session, then-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a previous version of this law, which California’s Legislative Counsel concluded “would be unconstitutional if enacted.” In vetoing the 2017-18 tax return law, Brown noted:
First, it may not be constitutional. Second, it sets a “slippery slope” precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power? A qualified candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system. For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.
Our complaint further alleges the political nature of the law, which is totally divorced from the states’ legitimate constitutional role in administering and establishing procedures for conducting federal elections:
None of the interests proffered by the California legislature for requiring the disclosure of candidates’ tax returns is related to election procedure or administration. Rather, the stated interests incorporate particular, substantive judgments about what is most important for voters to know when considering a candidate, how voters should go about “estimate[ing] the risk” of a candidate “engaging in corruption,” and what might assist law enforcement in detecting violations of the Emoluments Clause and crimes “such as insider trading.”
Unless SB 27 is enjoined, states will assume the power to create their own qualifications for national candidates seeking to obtain a party’s nomination for president. This could lead to as many as 50 distinct and possibly inconsistent sets of qualifications regarding the only national election in the United States. Using rationales similar to California’s, states might come to demand medical records, mental health records, sealed juvenile records, driving records, results of intelligence, aptitude, or personality tests, college applications, Amazon purchases, Google search histories, browsing histories, or Facebook friends.
In their zeal to attack President Trump, California politicians passed a law that unconstitutionally victimizes California voters. A state can’t amend the U.S. Constitution by adding qualifications to run for president, and the courts can’t stop this abusive law fast enough.
Until next week …
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Author: Tatiana Venn